Germania Incident (Blood and Soil)

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Germania Incident
Part of Cold War

Heer soldiers commanded by General Hasso von Boehmer storm the SS Headquarters in Germania
Date13–27 June 1956
Location
Belligerents
Pro-government:
Hitlerist Germany
Pro-Himmler:
Emergency Council
Commanders and leaders
Adolf Hitler
Hermann Göring
Ferdinand Schörner
Reinhard Heydrich
Heinrich Himmler
Hermann Fegelein
Hans Jüttner

The Germania Incident was a political crisis that took place from 13 June to 27 June 1956 after Adolf Hitler suffered his first stroke and fell into a coma on 10 June, followed by Acting Führer Hermann Göring having a severe heart attack three days later. Rudolf Hess then assumed the role, but with little political support and a poor reputation in the party, was arrested by the Schutzstaffel under orders of Heinrich Himmler, forced to resign his post, and designate Himmler as his successor. Himmler then gave immediate orders to place Germania and Berlin entirely under SS control. As justification, Himmler sent forged communications by several senior German Army officers, namely Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and Major General Claus von Stauffenberg, that a coup was under way to remove Hitler and the National Socialist Party from power with the plan to instate Göring as the new head of state. Aides to Göring caught wind of this, as his protection detail suspected this was a false report, and moved him from his hospital to a remote health facility outside the city, a move that likely saved his life.

Confusion ran through not just Germany, but the world, as no one was certain if Hitler was still alive or if this was a bluff by Germany to provoke the Oceanic Alliance into starting a war against the radical Himmler. Himmler gave his first address on 18 June, declaring a state of emergency and that the Schutzstaffel is maintaining order in Germania due to "Judeo-Bolshevik threats." Himmler subsequently announced the formation of an Emergency Council (Rat für Notfälle), comprised of almost exclusively SS personnel loyal to him. Reinhard Heydrich, who was serving as head of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), was offered a position on the RfN as Himmler's deputy, however Heydrich, acting as a pragmatist, refused the offer. Because of his refusal, Himmler arrested Heydrich the following day out of suspicion.

On 27 June, Hitler awoke from his coma and was immediately briefed on the situation within Germania and Himmler's government. Believing a coup was underway, Hitler gave a public radio address, assuring that he was in stable condition. Shortly after, arrest orders were issued by Hitler against Himmler and his associates. Himmler committed suicide that evening to avoid arrest and all members of the "Emergency Council" were executed, the only exception being Hermann Fegelein who was spared at the pleading of Hitler's wife. As a reward for his loyalty, Reinhard Heydrich was promoted to Reichsführer-SS on 28 June, officially being the second in command of the SS behind Hitler himself.

The Germania Incident marked the beginning of the Schutzstaffel's waning power and the German Army's resurgence in politics. Senior officers who played a role in resisting Himmler, namely Erwin Rommel and Adolf Heusinger, were rewarded with senior government and party posts. OKW Chief Ferdinand Schörner, another officer rewarded for his loyalty, would eventually become Chancellor of Germany under Hermann Göring following Martin Bormann's removal and execution.